Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Clarification---“Bank of the West/Bremerton bank fails”
######## surrounding the article denotes it is a “press release”
Clarification---“Bank of the West”
Apparently many readers assumed that both banks failed in the feature “Bank Beat.” Grammatically it would have been “fail” and the / mark is intended that there are two main stories. The first paragraph included “…First the good news, deposits were up, and the FDIC thanked the bank for operational management to protect the depositors of FDIC Deposit Insurance National Bank of Greeley (DINB)…”
Leasing News apologizes to Jerry Newell, Executive Vice President, Bank of the West, Equipment Finance Division, as well as employees of Bank of the West, and readers who did not read more than the headline. The editor will be more careful in the future.
From Jerry Newell:
“The combination headline (Bank of the West/Bremerton Bank Fails) in today’s Leasing News does a disservice to us. Linking Bank of the West with the failure of a small bank in Bremerton tends to alarm our customers. Bank of the West did indeed experience a loss in the first quarter as a result of provisioning for future loan and lease losses.
“Our operating businesses continue to perform well with loans and core deposits up from a year ago by 7% and 12% respectively. Our provisions and other metrics were less severe than for many of our peers, and the Bank remains strong, well-capitalized and planning for future growth. Our tangible common equity is a very healthy 7.25%, and we are managing our expenses to match the current environment. Additionally, Bank of the West is a member of the BNP Paribas Group, one of the six highest rated banks worldwide.
“Bank of the West Equipment Finance Division will continue to provide the service and expertise our customers have come to expect.”
Best regards, Jerry
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Readers saddened by the passing of John Otto
“A man was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a city-owned parking lot in Palm Desert on Monday, “ the Palm Desert police reported “...around 2:15pm.The man was found lying next to a GMC Arcadia SUV…He was pronounced dead at Eisenhower Medical Center.”
“May he rest in peace and God provide solitude and understanding to his family and friends”
"What a shame. Don't know him but very bad for his family"
"That is just awful. I feel so sorry for his family."
"This is very sad news."
"Truly is sad news."
“Very sad news about John Otto.”
"What a sad way to go out..."
Investors suspect Heritage Leasing $132 Million Fraud
by Christopher Menkin
It is estimated loans by investors total $132 million dollars.
“It is extremely unfortunate that John Otto took his life and while that is certainly a tragedy there are hundreds of individuals holding his leases (or what we hope are leases) and the balance owed does go into the 9 figures… The unfortunate part is that no one but John knows where the money/leases are as Dan Ramirez (president of HL Leasing) only acknowledges the sales aspect and has no knowledge of the leases other than his clients always received their payments.”
Many investors found stories with John Otto’s name on Google
The investor “announcement” was written from a session with Marc Miles, an attorney with Callahan & Blaine, Santa Ana, California. Allegedly a week to ten days ago John Otto walked into the law office and hired the firm to basically compose an “announcement.” He then on Friday dispersed it to investors by email and fax on Callahan & Blaine stationary:
“Recently, a company sought to acquire HL Leasing. That acquisition was scheduled to be completed by the end of last month, and there would have been a seamless transition in HL Leasing's business and payment to its clients. Unfortunately, the owner of HL Leasing, John Otto, suffered a minor stroke three weeks ago and was also diagnosed with lung cancer. These unforeseen health conditions unfortunately had an impact on the acquisition of HL Leasing, and to date the sale has not been consummated. However, because all of the parties had anticipated a smooth transition with respect to the sale of the company, accounts were suspended in preparation of the new owner taking them over. Because the sale was not completed, there needs to be some reworking of the accounts to reinstate them to their original condition…
“HL Leasing, its owner, its staff, and my firm respectfully request that you remain patient over the next couple of weeks (highlighted by editor ) as we get everything flowing in the right direction again. In the meantime, to the extent you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.”
Copy of complete letter:
Dan Rameriz, president of HL Leasing, 3439 W Shaw Ave Fresno, CA 93711, same address as Heritage Pacific Leasing, reportedly told investors there were over 1,000 who invested, that the entire operation was out of John Otto’s house in Palm Desert, California where he allegedly employed three people who handled the accounting operation of several of his business.
A UCC search by Leasing News found 13 leases in 2005 with HL Leasing as secured party with assignments from Five Point Capital, Pentech Capital, Alliance Funding, and Genesis Commercial Credit. These appear to be discounted leases sent by other firms. No other filing in any years. More importantly, no filings involving American Express Business Finance, which the loans from HL Leasing were supposed to be based upon.
A UCC search found none as debtor.
UCC searches of Heritage Pacific Leasing found many leases discounted to funders (banks) and a trail that indicates in the last few years the filings were fewer and fewer, most were to Bank of the West and involved agriculture equipment.
Former employees at the Heritage Pacific Leasing, Fresno, California office told Leasing News that most of the leases they were doing were sold to US Bank Manifest, Bank of the West, and what are called Microticket leases, small ones, under $25,000. They were aware John Otto raised money on leases that he held himself that he personally guaranteed the investors they would get paid, it was their understanding, although the actual agreements contain no personal guarantee. They said it was a separate company, HL Leasing.
The California Department of Corporations shows HL Leasing was incorporated in 2000 with Andy Fernandez as agent for service (he is reportedly the chief financial officer for Heritage Pacific Leasing, Fresno, California). It was not incorporated in California at the time of the agreements sent to investors.
California Department of Corporation HL Leasing:
HL Leasing is not licensed as a California Financial Lender, although Heritage Pacific Leasing licensed 1996 as a dba of Manufacturers Acceptance Corporation. The loan agreement states the HL Leasing is licensed to conduct loans, but is incorrect.
Heritage Pacific California Financial Division License:
While several investors reportedly went back 15 to 20 years, receiving all payments, and principal when requested, on time until April, 2009, none of those Leasing News spoke with ever saw the leasing instrument, nor knew the name, or even received a UCC showing their interest. They relied on a “loan number” and never looked into whether the lease came from “American Express” or even went to the company’s web site as the referral came in from a friend and the following information from Dan Ramirez, President of HL Leasing, Inc., out of the Fresno, California office, who also had money invested, he reportedly told one investor.
No one looked into the sale of American Express Business Finance to Key Finance in 2004 or the news stories that the American Leasing Business Finance had stopped doing leases direct in 2002. One investor argued that “American Express” was still selling leases to HL Leasing which the investments were allegedly based upon.
While investors confused the entity with Heritage Pacific Leasing, the company was HL Leasing, ironically with no address on the loan documents except for Fresno, California. The venue may be California as the loan agreements states under California Law, but in my opinion, looks like a home made agreement. See for yourself:
HL Leasing Loan Agreement (paid out)
Although the agreement they signed said they were informed, their friends were paid on time, they were not. They relied on their friends and a list of investors supplied to them by Dan Ramirez. Many reported their original investment was returned, and most continued to re-invest, inviting their friends and relatives to earn the high rate of return. In addition, Dan Ramirez supplied a list of investors they could call to verify that they were receiving an interest payment, principal returned, and were satisfied with
List of Investors sent with HL Leasing proposal:
Highlights of Proposal:
I . OUR CLIENTS ARE THE "LENDERS"
ALL NOTES ARE SECURITIZED BY STRONG, PERFORMING BUSINESS EQUIPMENT LEASES THAT HL BUYS FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS AT A "DISCOUNT"
THESE LEASES ARE ASSIGNED TO LENDERS AS COLLATERAL AS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF REPAYMENT TO THEIR LOANS.
LENDERS ARE REPAID MONTHLY (25TH OF EACH MONTH)
6. CURRENT RATES AND TERMS AS OF 9/07 (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
. SEASONED EQUIPMENT LEASE PAPER IS ACQUIRED FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS
REPAYMENT TO OUR CLIENTS AND PROFITS TO HL LEASING COMES DIRECTLY FROM THE "DISCOUNT" AMERICAN EXPRESS - NEW YORK
SELLS HL LEASING EQUIPMENT LEASES WITH THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
1. MEDICAL - DENTAL APPROXIMATELY 70%
NOTE: NUMBERS 3, 4 & 5 REPRESENT APPROXIMATELY 20%
C) ALL ACQUIRED CONTRACTS MUST HAVE AN "AS AGREED" REPAYMENT HISTORY WITH AMERICAN EXPRESS
Full Copy of Proposal:
Accordingly, all conversations were with Dan Ramirez, who works out of Fresno, and it appears to be a very small office; one party says it is down to three. The web site says 15 work here, but others report it is much smaller. February, 2008 without any notice, Leasing News was told John Otto let his entire Fresno operation sales staff go including Rick Gatelli, CLP, the president, and Charlie Litt, Senior Vice-President. Shortly thereafter, Rick Gatelli, CLP, Charlie Litt, and John Estok, CLP, formerly of IFC Credit Corporation and First Portland Corporation made a bid to purchase Heritage Pacific Leasing, but were turned down by John Otto, who said he was working with another interested party. In further conversations with him, he said that fell through, and he was still interested in selling Heritage Pacific Leasing. He never mentioned HL Leasing.
From Founder John Otto Company web site:
Heritage Pacific Leasing History & Background
Heritage Leasing (the company) was formed over thirty years ago in San Diego, California. The company operated for ten years as a third-party tax lessor providing tax benefits to its sole shareholder, a very prominent physician.
The company’s growth rate was nominal during these first ten years of operations given its primary reason for existence. However during the next five years, the company opened four new West Coast offices and experienced phenomenal growth during this period.
John Otto purchased the company’s Fresno operation in 1984, which became Heritage Leasing Financial Services (HLFS). Since that time, HLFS has been able to offer its clients quality and timely financing plus a full array of other value-added financial services. HLFS’s continued growth during the past twelve years has generated a $36 million lease portfolio with individual contact amounts ranging from $1,000 to the multi-million dollar category.
In 1996, Mr. Otto purchased Manufactures Acceptance Corp. (MAC), a Fresno based corporation in the same line of business. Heritage Pacific Leasing, an operating division of MAC, was formed which assumed all assets and liabilities of HFS. Heritage Pacific Leasing (HPL) now continues the tradition of financial strength and the wide array of financial services previously offered by HFS.
In early 1997, Mr. Otto purchased a majority interest in CenterPoint Financial Services, L.L.C. located in Denver, Colorado. This company does small ticket market transactions ($75,000 and less) in virtually every state in the country and then securitizes the blocks of originated leases with a major international bank. The common ownership provides HPL with an additional funding source enhancing their production potential. The securitization process allows both companies to minimize their risk and enhance cash flow. (Does not mention that the business closed down and the reasons why. Editor)
In late 1997, Mr. Otto purchased a majority interest in Pentech Financial Services, Inc. located in San Jose, California. This company is a venture leasing company which engages in large ticket equipment leases ($750,000+) with emerging growth companies that have been financed by the venture capital community. (Doesn't state that he sold his ownership in 2007. editor)
In 1998, HPL created two wholly owned entities, Pacific Services I & II, to allow qualified individuals to invest in certain lease portfolios owned by HPL. The activities of these two entities are licensed and regulated by the California Department of Corporations.
The above companies now connected through common ownership, business philosophy and professional staff and provide competitive financial products to our client’s business geographic and market size requirements. (From a web site stating it is Heritage Pacific Leasing; however, the main site is HPLonline.com and does not contain the information above-editor)
Highlights: Marlin 10-Q 3/31/2009 SEC Filing
There were several items not covered in Marlin Business Services, Mount Laurel, New Jersey press release regarding a first quarter revenue loss of $879,000 compared to a profit of $1,359,000 the first quarter of 2008.
Here are some of the highlights not covered from the Marlin 10-Q 3/31/2009 SEC Filing:
The number of employees let go this year is 105:
“A total of 49 employees company-wide were affected as a result of the staff reductions in the first quarter of 2009.”
“During the second quarter of 2009 we announced a further workforce reduction of 23%, or 53 employees company-wide, including the closure of our Denver satellite office.”
The SEC states the company had 284 employees the end of 2008, now down to 179: 37%
3/31/09 Year-ending numbers
“The opening of our wholly-owned subsidiary, Marlin Business Bank, on March 12, 2008 provides an additional funding source. Initially, FDIC- insured deposits are being raised via the brokered certificates of deposit market. Interest expense on deposits was $0.6 million, or 3.86% as a percentage of weighted average deposits, for the three-month period ended March 31, 2009. The average balance of deposits was $67.2 million for the three-month period ended March 31, 2009.
“Our revenue consists of interest and fees from our leases and loans and, to a lesser extent, income from our property insurance program and other fee income...As a credit lender, our earnings are also significantly impacted by credit losses. For the quarter ended March 31, 2009, our annualized net credit losses were 5.40% of our average total finance receivables. We establish reserves for credit losses which require us to estimate inherent losses in our portfolio.”
“Unearned lease income consists of the excess of the total future minimum lease payments receivable plus the estimated residual value expected to be realized at the end of the lease term plus deferred net initial direct costs and fees less the cost of the related equipment. Approximately 73.4% of our lease portfolio at March 31, 2009 amortizes over the term to a $1 residual value. For the remainder of the portfolio, we must estimate end of term residual values for the leased assets. Failure to correctly estimate residual values could result in losses being realized on the disposition of the equipment at the end of the lease term.”
“Our leases offer our end user customers the option to own the purchased equipment at lease expiration. Based on the minimum lease payments receivable as of March 31, 2009, approximately 73% of our leases were one dollar purchase option leases, 23% were fair market value leases and 4% were fixed purchase option leases, the latter of which typically are 10% of the original equipment cost. As of March 31, 2009, there were $50.5 million of residual assets retained on our Consolidated Balance Sheet, of which $40.4 million, or 79.9%, were related to copiers. (highlights by editor/note two main sales/operational on copiers were let go and now work for Cannon Financial. editor). No other group of equipment represented more than 10% of equipment residuals as of March 31, 2009 and December 31, 2008, respectively. Improvements in technology and other market changes, particularly in copiers, could adversely impact our ability to realize the recorded residual values of this equipment.”
“Our leases generally include automatic renewal provisions and many leases continue beyond their initial contractual term. We consider renewal income a component of residual performance. For the three months ended March 31, 2009, renewal income net of depreciation totaled $1.8 million compared to $1.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2008. For the three months ended March 31, 2009, net losses on residual values disposed at end of term totaled $333,000 compared to net losses of $173,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2008. The primary driver of the changes was a shift in the mix of the amounts and types of equipment disposed at the end of the term.”
There is more, particularly disclosures on variable interest rate and
Mike Rizzo let go at US Bank Manifest
Michael J. Rizzo, President & CEO, Business Equipment Finance Group, executive vice president at U.S. Bank, was recently let go by management. March 20, 2009 he told Leasing News he
He was given other bank assignments, and in the realignment, a position was not available, Leasing News was told. It was not a performance issue of US Bank Manifest, which reportedly
Cindy Fleck recently left to join MCA Relationship Manager for Channel Partners under her old boss Brad Peterson. Reportedly with two younger children, she would be required to do a lot more traveling, as there appears to be a management shift going on at US Bank Manifest. There is even talk that the bank is interested in selling the division.
Medical/Dental Sales Group Looking for a “Home”
Ex-HPSC/GE Capital sales team is looking for bank or direct lessor that is interested in expanding financing efforts in dental and optical industries by hiring sales team with great vendor contacts.
"I was the Vice President of Sales for the dental and optical finance group of HPSC. Our company was shut down a few years after being acquired by GE Healthcare Financial Services. We financed $300 million last year to dental and optical professionals. We financed practice start-ups, expansions, and equipment. We are looking for a potential home where we can continue in our dental and optical specialties. I was the national sales leader for this group and would like to keep the team together with myself as sales manager. I feel we can bring in excess of $150 million in business in our first year through our strong vendor contacts as well as key vendor relationships. My sales team consisted of 12 regional sales reps nationwide. I can put together a smaller team if needed.
"I believe that this could be the ideal time for a bank or leasing company to expand their presence in the dental and optical markets. I feel that there is a great opportunity to fill the void left by our former company. Please feel free to contact with any questions that you might have or if there is someone else I should be speaking with. I look forward to your response. I can be reached at 404-217-3694 or by e-mail Archan1785@msn.com."
A Power Point Presentation is available to those seriously interest in this proposition:
Classified ads---Help Wanted
Jon Aronson was named Sales & Marketing Director for the Western Region, Dakota Financial, LLC, Los Angeles, California. He has been with Dakota Financial for the past three years as an Underwriting Associate in the credit department. "His experience on the credit side of transactions will position him well as he takes over working with brokers in the Western and Central areas of the US," said Dakota Financial’s Managing Partner, Michael Green.
Peter K. Bullen appointed senior vice president and national sales manager for the direct sales, Key Equipment Finance, Superior, Colorado. He joined KeyCorp in 1992 as assistant vice president at Society Equipment Leasing/KeyCorp in Cleveland. In 1996, he became vice president, area sales leader, for KeyCorp Leasing, followed by a promotion in 2008 to regional sales director for the Great Lakes Region. Prior to his time at KeyCorp, Bullen was assistant vice president from 1989 to 1992 at Ameritrust Co. in Cleveland, which he joined in 1987 as a credit analyst.
Bullen graduated in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and in 1993 earned his MBA in banking and finance from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio.
Javier Gadala joins the Vendor Services Group, Balboa Capital, Irvine, California. He previously was with American Express and Key Equipment Finance.
Alex Garcia was hired by Balboa Capital, Irvine, California, joining the Vendor Service Group. He previously held sales positions at American Express, Key and most recently, Popular Equipment Finance where he specialized in information technology.
Adam Huhn joins Balboa Capital, Irvine, California as Regional Manager. He was with IFC FirstCorp for five years. He will be targeting the information technology vertical market.
Scott Woodring has joined Summit Commercial Finance, Scottsdale, Arizona. He previously was Vice-President Sales/Marketing with Dakota Financial, LLC, and served in the same position at Pawnee Leasing for three years. He is the former Regional Sales Manager for Firerock Capital, Inc. and Fisher-Anderson, Western regional manager in Lincoln, Nebraska. firstname.lastname@example.org
(This ad is a “trade” for the writing of this column. Opinions
contained in the column are those of Mr. Terry Winders, CLP)
Richard Nimphie returns to Leasing with his son
After 37 years experience beginning in the leasing industry, Richard Nimphie and his son Jonathan have begun Lease South, LLC to assist businesses in acquiring both equipment and vehicles.
In 1971, fresh out of college, Richard Nimphie went to work for Fleet Leasing of America as an account executive. After several years of gaining experience, he formed George Ballas Leasing, a subsidiary of an auto dealership in Toledo, Ohio. The company grew to six offices with vehicles and equipment in 44 states becoming one of the largest dealer affiliated leasing companies in the country. After the company’s sale to a large financial institution, Richard became operating partner of Lexus of Tampa Bay and Lexus of Clearwater. During his tenure prior to the sale of both dealerships, the per cent age of vehicles leased to customers rose to 70%. Richard served as past president of the Car and Truck Rental and Leasing Association ( CATRALA ) of Ohio, past president of the Toledo Auto Dealers Association, the Lexus Dealer Council and served on several charitable boards in the Tampa Bay Area.
Jonathan Nimphie graduated from Stetson University with a degree in international business. After graduation, Jonathan, an accomplished surfer, traveled extensively throughout Central America, South Africa, Indonesia and Australia before returning the East Coast of Florida becoming a wholesale mortgage broker.
Father and son have combined their experiences partnering to form Lease South, LLC. Lease South serves small and medium size businesses assisting them in acquiring equipment and vehicles through lease financing packages. Whether a business client wants a lease with ownership rights or a true operating lease with accompanying tax benefits, Lease South can custom design a program for them. Equipment includes but is not limited to : medical, dental, construction, forklifts, restaurants, office furniture and equipment. Since their multitude of lenders each has a lending “appetite” for specific types of equipment, Lease South can handle deals from $5,000 to $35MM as generalists capable of handling very specific equipment sectors.
Currently in addition to the two partners, Lease South, LLC has five associates, each with years of lending, leasing or automotive experiences
Lease South, LLC
Irwin Financial Shows $94 Million Loss First Quarter
COLUMBUS, Indianapolis-- Irwin Financial Corporation (NYSE: IFC), announced a loss of $94 million for the first quarter of 2009, or $3.17 per diluted share principally due to credit provisions and costs related to its strategic restructuring. The Corporation's first quarter loss compares to a loss of $104 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. In neither period is the Corporation applying the potential benefits of losses for federal or state tax purposes.
"In the first quarter, we completed another step in our restructuring plan to re-focus our bank on small business and community banking with the sale of our home equity servicing assets. Our restructuring started two years ago with the sale of our conforming mortgage business. Since that time we have completed our exit from the national mortgage, equipment leasing, and home equity segments, except for a liquidating portfolio of home equity loans. With the transactions in March, we removed approximately $700 million of these home equity loans and other assets. We increased our deposits in the first quarter and both of our banking subsidiaries remain adequately capitalized," said Will Miller, Chairman and CEO of Irwin Financial.
Full Press Release Here:
(Leasing News provides this ad “gratis” as a means
to help support the growth of Lease Police)
Home prices fall in 134 of 152 metro areas
April foreclosures rise 32 percent
Freddie Mac Loses $10 Billion for Quarter
Chrysler to cut 800 dealers on Thursday
Records Show Billions Withdrawn Before Madoff Arrest
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Mini E lease program has electric vehicle fans all charged up
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